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Stillwater in Washington County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Steam Power, Railroads, and the Hersey & Bean Lumber Company

Cultural Landscape

 
 
Steam Power, Railroads, and the Hersey & Bean Lumber Company Marker image. Click for full size.
By Fitzie Heimdahl, April 22, 2020
1. Steam Power, Railroads, and the Hersey & Bean Lumber Company Marker
Inscription.  

The earliest mills depended on water to power their saws. But in 1855, the Hersey, Staples Company (later Hersey & Bean) built the first steam powered sawmill on the St. Croix on this location just south of Stillwater. Steam powered a mechanized gang saw of twenty parallel sash saws and the first circular saw in the area. In 1871, when rail approached from the south along Main Street, Hersey & Bean Company revamped the original mill, built a new modern planning mill and connected to the new rail line. The company doubled its output. A mechanized steam loader, replacing men who could not keep up with the output of the new planning mill, lifted the cut lumber directly onto waiting rail cars. Connection to the railroad augmented rafting on the river and gave the mills access to more markets. By 1870, a series of houses and boarding houses known as “Slab Alley” went up across Main Street and were occupied by workers from the mill and other industries in Stillwater. Although the mill was closed and dismantled in 1906, limestone foundations and walls that were once part of this expansive industrial complex are still visible today.

Marker with the ruins of the Hersey Bean Lumber Company Office in background. image. Click for full size.
By Fitzie Heimdahl, April 22, 2020
2. Marker with the ruins of the Hersey Bean Lumber Company Office in background.
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[Photo captions:}
{Upper Right:} Detail of Hersey Bean Mills from Andreas Atlas (1874).
{Upper Left:} Slab alley neighborhood across Main St. from the lumbermills (1932). Source: Minnesota Historical Society, Runk Collection
{Center:} Hersey & bean Lumber Co. employees (ca. 1890). Source: Minnesota Historical Society, Runk Collection
{Bottom Left:} Hersey Bean Lumber Co., Office and incinerator (view to southeast, downriver) (ca. 1897). Source: Minnesota Historical Society, Runk Collection

 
Erected 2018.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce.
 
Location. 45° 3.019′ N, 92° 48.005′ W. Marker is in Stillwater, Minnesota, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Minnesota Route 95. Located across Highway 95 from the Oasis Cafe along the St. Croix River Crossing Loop Trail. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 806 Main St S, Stillwater MN 55082, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Civil War Flank Howitzer (approx. 0.4 miles away); Smithson Paper Box Company Building (approx. 0.4 miles away); Soldiers and Sailors Monument (approx. 0.4 miles away); Washington County Public Land Donation (approx. 0.4 miles away); Washington County Courthouse

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(approx. 0.4 miles away); Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Freight House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Minnesota Territory 1849 – 1858 / Washington County Takes Shape (approx. 0.4 miles away); Simonet's Furniture and Carpet Company Building (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Stillwater.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 23, 2020, by Fitzie Heimdahl of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 86 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 23, 2020, by Fitzie Heimdahl of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Oct. 27, 2021